Conviction Vacated, New Trial Ordered in 2000 Tama Murder

Tait Purk (WHO-HD)

TAMA COUNTY, Iowa – An Iowa man found guilty earlier this year in the 2000 murder of his fiancé has had his conviction vacated and been awarded a new trial.

Fifty-one-year-old Tait Purk was convicted of first degree murder in May. He was accused of killing 23-year-old Cora Okonski, who has been missing since April 2000. Her body has never been found.

Purk claims Okonski was upset with him over his decision to push back their wedding when she left their Tama home on April 16, 2000 to buy cigarettes and never returned.

The case was cold until December of 2016 when Purk was charged with Okonski’s murder.

Purk filed a motion in July to contest the guilty verdict, claiming there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. District Court Judge Mitchell E. Turner ruled in his favor Monday.

Judge Turner said in his ruling, the jury’s verdict in finding Purk guilty was “contrary to the evidence and lack of evidence presented at the trial. The Court further finds that the credible evidence produced at trial preponderates heavily against the verdict, and that therefore the Defendant must be granted a new trial.”

A new trial date has not yet been scheduled.